It wasn’t the knob of sun
Or grainy currents crossing the eye
that invites the thought that you’ve finally arrived
at the clearest understanding this very instant on the Huangpu River
where the mind is serrated dragging its way
All this thinking thousands along the river and inland
and still meaning is heavier than the bodies we yoke it to
Surely for this reason death must announce itself
again and again in such sour language
so we may live closer to the senses
Moments when we feel history pulling from behind
the eyes the mouth hooked
But the remainder of this life
is still millions of kilometers away from being born
Jenny Xie is the author of Eye Level, recipient of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and finalist for the National Book Award. She lives in New York City.
Image: Anonymous, Endleaves of Art. Taste. Beauty, 1932.